How to Not Let Bullies Get What They Want
In this chapter I am going to present what I think is the root cause of bullying. It is a learned behaviour which a child picks up very young that can stay unseen below the surface throughout someone’s life and the person might never know this learned behaviour is the very reason they get bullied by everyone. This learned behaviour, I think, has far reaching, devastating consequences, particularly because it is learned in a person so young that it is unlikely they would have any recollection of the first time they displayed the behaviour. It is a response to something happening within a toddler’s environment that they are instinctively trying to change or sort out before they have the power of speech.
Here is a scene to depict my theory. Little Burt hears raised voices in the living room and toddles through to see his parents arguing. (If you are a parent and are thinking ‘oh so arguing with my partner is the cause of all my children’s problems is it?’ get over yourself!). Burt feels tension in the room and wants to dissipate it. Therefore he does a silly little dance, knocks something off a table or perhaps relieves himself on the floor. If the arguing parents are distracted by Little Burt, which would probably happen, they could well still be angry but distracted by the pool of pee on the carpet, broken ornament or to attend to the child’s needs. The tension between the two people will be dispersed and the child will have learned how to remove tension.
This is what I call the release valve theory and I thought this up when I was being bullied in the office I worked in, in 2006. Ironically, although perhaps typically if you consider what I was saying about the power of language earlier, I was working on careers magazines for disabled graduates and I had just discovered I had Dyspraxia with maybe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or maybe a bit of Aspergers. Then I found I was being bullied about it or certainly the way I was being treated and spoken to was not very pleasant.